Dh40,000 fine impedes man’s life-saving surgery

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Abdullah, who used to work as a taxi driver, is recuperating at Sharjah’s Al Qasimi Hospital since March 27.

A man, who is in a critical condition, will not be able to get a much-needed heart surgery until fines for overstaying his visa are cleared. The 64-year-old Pakistani man, Abdullah Aziz, is currently admitted in Al Qassimi Hospital in Sharjah. Abdullah, who used to work as a taxi driver, was awarded a character certificate from the Dubai Police after he returned Dh50,000 in cash and some gold a passenger had left behind.

According to his daughter Shazia Aziz, the Dubai Immigration authorities turned down her requests to reduce the Dh40,000 fine to an affordable amount so that her father can get the life-saving surgery. However, after Khaleej Times intervened, the authorities have agreed to look into the issue.

“My father is in dire need of an urgent heart surgery, but the hospital can conduct the operation only when his visa issue is sorted. He overstayed in the country for more than a year,” Shazia said. Abdullah has been recuperating in the hospital since March 27.

Shazia has been the sole bread-winner of the family consisting of her stepmother, four siblings and their children since her father fell ill in 2006. “He had implantable intracardiac defibrillator to correct a heart condition.”

But recently, he received multiple direct current shock about 25 times during cardiac arrest, which doctors said is a “serious condition”.

Shazia said her father’s residence visa was due for renewal on May 24, 2013, but the restaurant where he was working as a cash desk clerk refused to pay for his labour card or renew his visa. “We approached the Humanitarian Cases Committee of the Directorate General of Immigration and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (DGIFAD) twice for visa renewal; first in Ramadan last year, and then on March 27 this year. We asked for a reduction in the Dh40,000 fine, but they requested certain medical reports to verify my father’s condition.”

When Khaleej Times contacted the DGIFAD, they promised to look into the case. “We shall cut as many days as possible based on the submitted medical reports showing the dates of admission to the hospital,” an official said.

A medical report issued by Al Qassimi Hospital said Abdullah suffers from ischemic heart disease, e-vessel disease and inferior myocardial infraction. “Therapeutic procedures were done to treat the narrowed coronary heart arteries in 2012,” said the report.

Shazia said the hospital would approach charities to fund the surgery that costs Dh60,000. “He suffers from hypertension, severe systolic dysfunction and dyslipidemia, and till the surgery is conducted, his case is critical,” she said.

Abdullah ran a garage after retiring as a private taxi driver in Dubai when the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) took over. “He worked hard all his life but due to his deteriorating health, he could not support us all.”

She said her father has given 40 years to Dubai. “We have been here all our lives. Now, Pakistan does not know us and we do not know Pakistan.”

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